Saturday, August 18, 2007

Day 2

I am writing blog land during the dinner break on day two of Messiah rehearsals. Thus far today has only been for musical rehearsals (and a lunch I made for the solists). Most of the solists haven't sung the choruses in many years, if ever, and in our production they are singing some of the choruses by themselves and some with the larger chorus. So today was for going over the choruses and it wasn't without its bumps. I'm sure once we get into staging these ensemble pieces will really become three dimensional.

This gets to a larger issue which has been arising. The soloists have been rehearsing their recitatives and arias with me and have been coming in sounding fantastic...too fantastic. The diction is perfect, and colors are rich, the rhythm is precise. Thats just the problem. Since it is a dramatic story, now staged, I want a sound the is more personal, less perfect. That begs the question "why do we sing opera one way and oratorio another". At least in Handel I have to say that I don't think this distinction makes sense. Certainly is "Messiah" should be more dramatic the same would go for the less overtly religious oratorios. Clearly I'm simplifying, but Handel turned to opera for largely financial reason, not because his aesthetic changed. Thought the writing in Messiah is different than a lot of the operatic writing, the same cannot be said for other oratorios. I just can't accept that Handel imagine his singers, mostly the same he had hired for opera, would change their performance practice to perform these works unstaged. Hmm...

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